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H-E-B, Austin restaurants work to get water, food to those in need

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Austin restaurants and grocery stores are working hard to get food and water to everyone who needs it. 

After days of empty shelves, H-E-B said they will restock all Austin locations Friday night.

“So because we had so many delays and deliveries that were delayed because of the weather, we do have hundreds of trucks in excess of what we normally would, making sure that product is available to get to our stores,” said Felicia Pena, public affairs manager at H-E-B. 

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Saturday morning, the grocery store chain plans to open all locations from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. filled with food, water, and other hard-to-find items. 

“So we do have some temporary product limits in place to ensure that all customers are able to access products. And we ask our fellow Texans to be a good neighbor and only take what they need, so our products will be available for other customers,” Pena said. 

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H-E-B says their trucks are also bringing bottled water to area stores, which will then be distributed in partnership with the City of Austin. 

While H-E-B is busy trying to help fill up people’s refrigerators, the Texas Restaurant Association is helping hospitals impacted by the storm. The association stepped up after a hospital representative contacted one of their members Monday.

“They said, ‘I represent several hospitals that have run out of food and we literally don’t have enough food to feed our doctors and nurses. We have a little bit of food to feed patients, but food is really low. I have no idea if you can help, but reaching out in case you can,’” said Kelsey Erickson Streufert, vice president of government relations and advocacy for the Texas Restaurant Association.

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TRA set up a website to link those hospitals up with restaurants that needed to get food out the door before it spoiled. 

“Austin has probably been the city with the most hospital and restaurant partnerships, which has been great to see. And I think we’ve helped 10 or so hospitals, at least in this hospital region,” Streufert said. 

In some cases, hospitals were able to pay for the food themselves, and in others. donations from companies covered the bill. After satisfying food needs at area hospitals, TRA decided to expand the idea to shelters, retirement homes, and other critical infrastructure facilities. 

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So far, there’s been an overwhelming response. “We have so many restaurants who are eager and ready to help,” said Streufert. 

Shelters and other critical care facilities can get on the list for prepared meals at the TRA website

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